questions & answers: using the japan rail pass

train transfers

Train transfers

Hello again,

As you know we will be first-timers in Japan, intending to make full use of our JR pass.

However, we are a bit worried about the transfer time needed to change trains, especially as we come from a country where trains are non-existent!

For example, on a certain day we need to travel between Nara and Hiroshima.
Hyperdia gave us this time schedule:
1. Leave Nara at 9:44
2. Arrival Osaka track 2 at 10:36, depart track 8 to Shin-Osaka at 10:45 on JR special rapid service
3. Arrival Shin-Osaka track 13 at 10.49, depart track 20 at 10:59 on Shinsankansen Sakura 553 to Hiroshima.

My problem is this: Being first-timers, not very conversant with train stations, will be be able to do the transfer in time comfortably? How easy is it for total strangers to find the appropriate platform in the time stated? Will will not have luggage except for a small backpack.

Our problem is that we will be travelling at peak times in Obon and we will hopefully have reserved seats for the shinkansen, so if we miss the train we will end up having no reserved seats.

Do you think we should play it safe and increase our transfer time?

Thank you always for your help.


Hi Again,

Having traveled in Europe a lot on trains and seeing that you have are from a lovely country where trains don't exist I understand that transfers may seem as a concern. However let me tell you that the whole train system in Japan is near to perfect and you won't have to worry about the transfer time, as everything is planned out well.

Here's what I would do,
For local trains such as the JR Rapid service, I would just take a train earlier, this way you are sure of your timing even if you may get a little lost on the station. Trains leave very frequently, so this would mean taking a train 10-15 min. before the one planned now.

As for Shinkansen transfers (from one bullet train to the other), don't worry about these at all, any transfer can be done is 3-5 minutes. Sometimes it means going down from the platform and taking an escalator up to the other.

All stations come equipped with electronic displays that show the departure time and platform number and there's JR staff everywhere, just in case you need some help.

I hope this helps :)

Expert button 2

You have put my mind at rest. I will arrange my timetables as you advices. So looking forward to our holiday in beautiful Japan!


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